The Disney Animation Studio in Burbank, California is the place where the most financially successful animation is born, but there are certainly alternatives. In 1998, just a short distance north in San Francisco, a small company named Mondo Media was formed. Rather than focus on the highly competitive family fare, they geared their efforts toward teens and young adults. With internet-based animation sequences, Mondo Media was able to break through with both their Dick Figures and Happy Tree Friends. The Happy Tree Friends are a cute collection of woodland characters that inevitably end up in extremely violent situations. For the first time, the entire collection is available on DVD.
Just in time for the holidays, Cinedigm is releasing the definitive collection of the animated cult sensation with Happy Tree Friends: Complete Disaster on DVD and digital platforms. Happy Tree Friends flash cartoons have received over two billion views online since its creation in 2000. In 2006, it was successful enough to warrant actual television episodes which aired on both G4 and MTV. The Complete Disaster includes all 13 television episodes, along with 75 shorts that have been remastered in high definition, although this is somewhat negated with the DVD format option.
The Happy Tree Friends are certainly not for the squeamish or very young children. At one point, the warning “Cartoon Violence: Not recommended for small children, or big babies” was even posted on the official website. One of the characters, Flippy, is a cute little green bear dressed in army fatigues. Unfortunately, Flippy, as an Army veteran, suffers from a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder, which typically results the gruesome deaths of his friends. A couple of the other episodes depict the disastrous results of a candy obsession.
The Happy Tree Friends: Complete Disaster DVD box set is rated TV-14 and includes four discs with a running time of 479 minutes. The HD remastering does make the video look nice and crisp on DVD and the audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Though the collection’s offering is available in a higher resolution in digital formats, the convenience of the DVDs will outweigh that benefit for many viewers. Plus the DVD box set is slightly easier to wrap than the gigabytes of the video files.
Happy Tree Friends are the most-watched online animated series of all time, which is a statement to an overwhelming appetite for a more “adult” animated offering. Something like South Park without the politics, Happy Tree Friends makes for a fun guilty pleasure. Though the cover art might not adequately warn parents, I must repeat that nothing on the DVDs should be watched by young children. While Complete Disaster isn’t a complete collection, it is the largest compilation available on the market. Whether you’re a fan, know someone who is, or are just looking for slightly inappropriate gift for a friend, this box set will probably fit the bill.